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0 In Home/ Projects

Backyard Update: Two Dump Runs and What a Difference

A few weeks ago our big backyard was a vast wasteland of weeds. After the tractor came most of our yard was smoothed with a layer of wood chips. It was an incredible change.

This Saturday we put our focus on the shed in the farthest corner of our yard. It was messy and stacked with wood, bricks, tires and randomness. It looked awful. As a family we moved, organized and threw stuff away. After two dump runs our shed area started looking pretty nice. Watch our second ever vlog to see our day in a nutshell.

This is the before and after of our progress on Saturday. We used to keep all kinds of stuff thinking we’d use it someday. Now we have grown to LOVE throwing stuff away because it feels like a clean slate. We enjoyed filling our dump trailer up twice today. And now our shed is simplified and peaceful. It’s not perfect, but it’s so much closer to our vision.

Here is our pile of vintage bricks. These bricks are gorgeous with so much character. We unearthed these from our old patio near the house a few years after we moved in. They’re waiting for the day we build them into something new.

Boaz sitting on top of Justin’s old truck as we started work in the yard. This is him in his natural environment. Little clothing, feet covered in dirt and a stick of some sort not far away.

More beautiful, old wood for our many project ideas. We thinned out and organized our wood pile.

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0 In Home/ Projects

Our Day with a Tractor

Our backyard went from wasteland to awesome-land in just a few hours with the help of a tractor. Now the weeds are gone and it’s a smooth blank canvas of wood chips for us to continue working on. This is a huge leap for our yard and the vision we have for it.

Our friend, Joe from our church, brought his tractor and two hard working dudes to level our wasteland and spread wood chips around our orchard trees. He even taught both of our boys to drive the tractor.

What an amazing day for our family. So blessed by friends. Can’t wait to continue creating this art across the whole yard!

0 In Decor/ Home

Painting Our House

We’ve lived in our ranch style home for eight years and we finally painted it! We can’t believe how new paint changes so much. We’re loving the way it turned out!

We bought our home back in the summer of 2009. We were a month away from having our first kid and our new purchase needed a ton of work. The interior needed so much attention that painting exterior was on the low- priority list. We’ll have to dig up our old pics of the interior for another blog post because I think you’ll enjoy seeing the previous dungeon, brick on brick, with gothic light fixtures style we were working with at the beginning. Very interesting.

One of the best things we did to our house at the beginning was having my dad paint the entire interior cream. Seriously, best thing ever. Our house went from dungeon to farmhouse in a week. (Praise hands)

That was eight years ago and even though we’ve done a lot of improvement projects to our home, painting the exterior has continued to remain on the low- priority list

…Until Last week!

My dad is a painting contractor. He brought his crew and it was a four and a half day whirlwind of water blasting, sanding, patching, plastic, paper, tape, spraying and paint brushes.

Here’s the before shots:

Here’s a shot of the backyard. We have 3 dutch doors that lead to the back each were dark stained wood.

My dad power washing all the dirt and loose paint off the house.

Our crew always snooping around seeing how they can help grandpa or touch wet paint and wipe it on a couch pillow.

And here it is. The After shots.

We choose white for the main color and a light gray for the trim. Our idea was to have our home be neutral like a blank canvas. We wanted to add accent colors that would pop against the white and use wood tones and green plants to contrast the walls. We picked out ferns and gardenia plants for our small flower bed. We can’t wait for them to get big to show their color and shape against the white.

And we chose a cobalt blue door. It’s so bold and happy. We love it! I (Lindy) can’t stop taking glances at it so I’m pretty convinced I’m WAY into it (Heart eyes).

And here’s some of the back.

We stained the window fort as well. We think the medium stain looks really nice against the white walls. We’re excited to put more wood accents against the walls.

We want to thank my dad for doing such an amazing job and always loving and serving our family! He is an artist of his painting craft and he has honed his art of loving others through his service. I can’t even count how many people he loves and cares for through his service. He is amazing and spending this week with him at our house has been quality time that me and the kids will remember forever.

I wish I could say that he paints houses regularly so you all could experience his art at your home as well, but he mainly paints commercial buildings. Hey, if you have a commercial building then give him a call! His business is called Rix Painting. The quality of his craft and strength of his character are unmatched.

The colors we chose are custom mixed or color matched so we wish we could share the exact colors. I can say that the main color is pure white in the sheen of satin. Also, if you’re wondering where our kid toys are they are still pushed to the side with a few other pieces of furniture and plants. I’m still putting things back, but were loving the simple look so I’ll prob put less back than was there before.

We are really happy with the way our home turned out! It’s bright, fresh and simple. It’s a perfect blank canvas to add our beauty and art.

0 In Projects

Our Farmhouse Table Transformation

Almost 10 years ago we bought this table from Pottery Barn. It was on major sale because it was a floor model and it already had scratches on the top. I though since I’m and artist and painter I could redo the top some time. Years went by and I never had time to work on it. That was fine because I was used to all the scratches and new scratches from my kids forks. I had been thinking I wanted to sand it down and do a natural top for a while so we just decided to do it a few weeks ago. The whole table was kind of a glossy black so we decided to repaint the bottom too.

Here it is in it’s oringinal well-used glory.


You know exactly where Titus our oldest sat because there was a line of demarcation scratched into the surface. Special.


Also, while I was cleaning the table leaves I discovered this. Who puts gum under the table?? I thought that’s only what rebel, delinquent kids did at school or an old diner! Surprises every day at our house.

We dragged the table outside (It weighs like 500 lbs.) and Justin started sanding it… This is where things got interesting. We disagreed about the type of sander to use. Justin said belt sander, I said orbital sander. Since he was sanding I let him choose his tool. Well, the high power sander was mistake number one. Mistake number two was me assuming that the table top was solid wood. It turned out to be solid VENEER over partical board. Awesome. So together we destroyed our natural wood top. Lol.


After accepting the reality of our mistakes we decided to keep going with our plans. I wanted green based off another legit chippy farm table we just got for our kids to do homework at (I’ll show you that later). I pulled out my fan decks and chose a similar color (Behr Equestrian Green, interior eggshell) then had it mixed. After Justin finished sanding the rest of the table I got to work painting it. I also had my little helper for part of it.


I love this green color. It was making me so happy. I also used 150 grit sandpaper to buff down the shine out of the eggshell paint without sanding all the way through to the bare wood. I love how that turned out.

We continued with our plan to clear varnish the table top with no stain and let the partical board show through for now until we can replace the wood top completely with new solid planks. The only difference with the varnish is I used a water based satin varnish for the temporary top instead of the oil based matte boat varnish I will use when we have our final top. (The boat varnish is about $100 a quart so I’ll save it for later). FYI oil based varnish is best for dining room tables since there’s a lot of water and grease that gets on it (think kids and pizza). Water based varnish can absorb water and make drink rings and such. It leaves a cloudy spot.

Anyways. When we put the final top on I’ll show you how we do it with all the right stuff. For now we’re making it work.


Ok, so I got done painting the table outside and I was pretty happy with it. I thought it looked cool with the colors and farmhouse look. It was weird though, when we brought the table inside I didn’t like it. I don’t know what it was. It may have been that I wasn’t used to the lightness of the table in that spot, or that there was an ugly kid booster seat attached to the chair pushed up to the table. I have no idea, but for days I was like, “oh gosh… why don’t I love this?” I set some blooming peonies on the table in a giant mason jar and just put the table out of my mind for a while.

I noticed I slowly started to warm up to the table. I got rid of the booster seat and the peonies continued to bloom. I wiped the table down a few times and swept the floor around it. I walked past it a bunch of times. I am starting to like it. Really like it. It could be the peonies, but I think it’s the whole thing. So, I took pictures of it this morning in the early morning light. I definitely like it.

0 In Home

Smart Home As Art: Installing the Logi Circle Camera in Our Girl’s Room

As we moved from a two child family to a three child family I decided I wanted to slowly add home automation to our house to make things easier on Lindy throughout the day. I actually left Lindy at the hospital with her mom the morning after Reeve was born so I could finish installing the first pieces of of our smart home. And as Reeve just turned three in March it makes me proud to know that Lindy has never had to pull her keys out and unlock the door to get inside when she’s dragging kids in form the van since that day we first brought Reeve home.

Lindy has convinced me that this isn’t just nerdy, but it’s one of my ways of making life more simple and beautiful when we’re at home. So I’m planning to start a series of posts all about The Smart Home as Art. If you have any specific questions about smart home stuff definitely let me know and I’ll write about it. For now I’ll start with our most recent addition: The Logi Circle Camera.


We’re about ready to move our little Cosette out of her pack ‘n play in our room into the crib Reeve’s – soon to be the girls’ – room. As any parent knows, nothing is ever as simple as it sounds. As best as we’ve been able to figure, here are the steps we’ll need to work out in the process:

  1. Move Reeve out of the crib into her big-girl, “princess” bed
  2. Wait for Reeve’s sleeping rhythms to reacclimate to her new bed
  3. Move Cosette into the crib in the girls’ room
  4. Make sure Reeve doesn’t accidentally upset, injur, or kill Cosette by climbing back into her crib

We endured this whole process when we moved Boaz into the crib when the boys were younger so we have a pretty good idea of how the whole transition will roll. One thing we’d like to try differently this time is using a camera in the room to be able to keep an eye on things and avoid having to go into the room if we don’t need to. We actually installed a peep hold on that door years ago, but it only works when there’s light in the room.

We’ve had a Nest cam before, but it didn’t work as welll as old hoped and you have to pay $99/yr to be able to go back and rewatch video. I did some fancy internet research and decided that we were going to go with Logitech’s Logi Circle. It connect to your WiFi network, records in 1080p, and even has a battery so you can move it around if you need to.

They actually dropped the price a few weeks ago so I pulled the trigger and bought one. The whole install process was super simple and I completed the whole thing, including mount to our brick walls, in under half and hour. Setting up the camera itself only took about five minutes.

The Circle come comes in a nice little box and each little section is clearly labeled with instructions on how to set it up. The camera itself isn’t just wireless for transmitting video, it’s wireless its dependency on power – it fixes to the mount with magnets and is on a battery. You can actually pick the camera up and move it anywhere in your house for a few hours if you want – that’s pretty rad.

You set the whole thing up using an iPhone app. And by “set up” I just mean follow the instructions on screen. If we get another one of these I think I’m going to have Lindy set it up – it’s that easy.

My favorite part of the whole thing is that the holder included if you want to mount the camera to the wall comes with some little sticky tabs that you can use to test the placement before you drill any holes. Every wall in our house is solid brick, so I need to be sure about placement before I run around rilling holes. I initially wanted to mount the camera in the corner of the room, but we couldn’t get it to see all of the crib and big girl bed at once because the girls room is pretty small. So we just used another sticky and tested the camera out in the center of the room which worked great.

Once I had the camera where we wanted it I just popped it off the magnetic clip, marked the holes for screws, removed the sticky tab and drilled exactly where we needed it. I’m definitely planning to use those sticky tables more in the future.

   

We’ve now got the camera mounted up in the center of the girls room. The flat power cable sits nicely against the wall and most of it is covered by the curtain.

We’ve already enjoyed some of the fun parts of having a camera in there. A few days after it was installed, Titus came in and grabbed Cosette out of her room and asked if he could change her diaper. While he was changing that super-poopy diaper Lindy remembered we had the Circle in there and watched the whole thing from her iPhone in bed.

All three kids got involved. Boaz was handing Titus the wipes and then holding Cosette’s feet back after she kicked them into the poop filled diaper and Reeve even joined them to sing Cosette a song while she endured this act of brotherly love. It was so cute that Lindy saved the video onto her phone and sent it to me while I was at work. I didn’t even know we could do that, but I’m glad we can.

I honestly want to get another Circle and install it in the boys room just so we can listen in on some of the hilarious stuff they talk about as they fall asleep. If you’re looking to add some smart to your home, the Logi Circle camera is a great way to get started.

0 In Crafting/ Decor

Ombré Heart Valentine’s Wall Art

We don’t decorate too much for Valentine’s Day. Not like we don’t want to, but there’s not usually time to put together anything that takes longer than pulling it out of a box and setting it somewhere. We do have a few things lingering around for years that still make their way out of the box every year, such as the always classy mini bean bag pillow.

Justin picked this up at a 99-cent store at the beginning of our marriage and it has never left. This is the first year our seven-year-old read what it said out loud. Justin got to have a slightly informative conversation with him about it and now we’re well on our way to one of our kids knowing where babies come from.

I decided to up my game this year so I got creative and made a quick trip to Target to grab a few supplies. (You know those quick trips where your husband texts after 2 1/2 hours asking when you’re coming home and if you can bring dinner).

Bit by bit, over a few days, I tackled this project.

To start, I painted some cardstock paper five different colors. (This step can be totally bypassed if you just buy colored cardstock, but I didn’t have time to look for the colors I wanted). I chose five colors that ranged from light to dark and reminded me of Valentine’s Day.

I set the boys up with scissors and set them free to cut the paper into pieces. They loved it. Boaz liked cutting fringe instead of straight lines and Titus was scratching out secret messages to me on the paper (heart eyes for days).

Then I used chalk to mark out a large heart on the wall. I took all those paper bits, some double sided tape and went for it. I arranged the bits of paper in an ombré style. I made sure the colors bled into one another and wasn’t too careful about it. I put the “love” heart Titus cut out for me in the perfect spot and decided it was done.

 

I love the controlled chaos this has. Wild with boundaries. Isn’t that a bit like love too? I love it.

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day projects?

Supplies

  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Brushes
  • Scissors
  • Tape
0 In Home/ Organization

Our Minimalism Journey: Part 1

Justin and I were hoarders and didn’t know it. We both came into our marriage with so much stuff it was crazy. Good thing our first apartment came with a one car garage or we wouldn’t have been able to bring all our junk with us. That’s even with leaving the less important junk at our parents’ houses.

Our Crazy Collections

We both kept some pretty ridiculous stuff. One time we went to Justin’s parents house and his mom brought out an old cardboard box there with his name on it. Inside was his collection of complimentary items from various hotels he had visited over the years like pads of paper, pencils, soap, cups, toiletry items and other random things. We had a good laugh about all that junk as we dumped it all in the brown trash can.

I was cleaning out the garage a few years ago and discovered the braces and hardware from when Justin broke both of his wrists at the same time. Like the metal bars, bolts and screws that were attached to his bones. LOL! Somehow those things made the cut through three moves. When I was cleaning our closets a while back, I even found Justin had kept every pair of converse he had worn since we got married. They were all at the bottom of his closet. Six pairs of tattered worn out shoes. It was so funny and very eye opening.

I, on the other hand, hoarded far more boring things than Justin like clothes, papers, yarn, magazines, paint, fabric, and craft items. Stuff like this has crowded our home for a long time. It’s always been a pain to have so many things, but I thought “more is better” so it stayed.

Choosing Minimalism

It’s safe to say Justin and I have had an epiphany when it comes to our stuff. As we’ve added more kids to our home it has become more and more apparent that we can’t maintain so much and take care of kids too.

We all know kids don’t stay still and because of that nothing in our home stayed still either. We used to have shelves and shelves of kids toys, shelves of books, stacks of magazines, decorations that were low to the ground. Our closets, cabinets and garage were so full that there were things that didn’t have a place. I found myself spending so much time scooping up toys and clothes and everything in between. I might as well have had a shovel. To the kids the act of dumping the toys out of the basket became the fun instead of the toy itself.

We made the decision that more is not better and that was the beginning of our minimalism journey.

Since then we have discarded tons of bags and boxes of stuff, we’ve had three yard sales, and donated to one of our favorite charities. It all started with a decision to have less which was then fueled by Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Now every time we thin out an area, we can’t wait to do it again. We are not done with the process of thinning out our items, but the biggest change is in our minds.

Less had truly become more in our eyes.

0 In Art/ Home

Art, as Defined by Lindy

I was in a contemporary art museum once. As I was walking around I saw a freestanding white pedestal with a few food items on it. I looked closer and saw that there was a taco… a real taco with shellac spray on it. This was bending my mind about how I had been categorizing art. Was this art? Was this just food picked up from a restaurant around the corner?

As I stood quietly and processed these questions, someone bumped in to the pedestal and the taco fell on the floor. I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. I just saw this broken taco on the ground with a bunch of rice around it. There was a scurry amongst the museum people. I saw a small broom with a pan coming. I was in awe as this piece of art was swept into a dust pan and then horrified as I realized the rice scattered on the floor wasn’t rice, it was actually live maggots.

My view of art changed that day. My artist mind has never been the same and just seeing maggots in general can give you nightmares, so it was a memorable day.

My Definition of Art

For most of my life art basically meant paint on a canvas, sculpture, and all the traditional stuff in a museum. I never thought too much about it, I just knew I liked it. I liked looking at it and creating it. It made me feel something inside and it added joy and boldness to my life.

From what I’ve gathered over the years, art is something created that moves your emotions.

It moves us through beauty or an idea. Sometimes it’s just visually attractive, sometimes it makes us think. It’s a representation of something meaningful. It can be a visual object that connects us to a bigger idea, a feeling we’ve felt before, an experience we know.

Art can be a freestyle or a discipline. Some art is free and creative, making anything that pleases you. Some art requires following rules. Like the rules of light, shadow, shape and perspective. Other art can even be your interpretation of the rules-, which is a mix between freedom and rules-.

Art can be made or found. When I’m creating art I curate it and I’m aware of it developing. I guide it and hone it till it is exactly the way I want it to be. I choose each the parts and what I use to make it. Color and shape are considered. Found art is a little different, it exists solely based on if I have eyes for it or not. It’s not necessarily intentionally made, but it is noticed. Like noticing the way someone’s shadow falls on the wall or perfect little muddy footprints on the sidewalk.

Art can represent reality or a metaphor. Art can look like reality, like drawing from life. A painting of a leaf that looks like a leaf. Or it can be a symbol for something else. Painting a set of wings that reminds you of a verse you read.

Art is a craft. Something you get increasingly good at over time. Like the more you practice drawing the human form, the more it looks the way you intend it to and at a quicker pace.

Redefining Art

For years, I defined art as something I could paint. When I got married and our home and kids began to need the bulk of my attention, using paint was not possible. What I knew art to be began to disappear, but I’ve begun to learn that the concepts I used to apply to my traditional art could be applied to anything I do. My craft at home.

Art can exist in as many places as there are colors in the spectrum. Written word, dance, music, photography, wood working, conversation and cooking are only some of the many places where art resides.

I aspire to be a bread artist, an iPhone photo artist, an artist of the written word, an artist of my morning coffee, an artist of praying for others. I want to be an artist of creating spaces of peace in my home, of making my kids feel loved even when they’re driving me crazy. An artist of knowing when to clean or let the rooms of my home be messy in order to spend time with the kids. An artist of the things I place on my dining room table and the way I arrange flowers and set them in the sun. An artist of my daughters’ hair. I want to be an artist that notices beauty.

My home may look nothing like a taco on a white block, but I consider it art.